Whether you are an architect, developer or end client, the choice of structural engineer is a vitally important one, which can greatly impact the cost, quality and timely delivery of a scheme.
The services provided by a structural engineer are often comprehensive and will vary depending on the requirements for a particular project; a domestic house-building project will be less complex than a multi-storey office block. Services will generally include:
- Design in steel, timber, concrete and masonry to the latest EuroCodes
- Structural fault diagnosis and surveys
- Structural and also land surveys
- Geotechnical investigation – often in tandem with a fellow professional
- Fire protection analysis
- Risk assessments
- Structural reports
The most important questions you will want to ask include:
- Do they have recent, successful and ideally extensive experience on this type of project?
This will really help you to be sure that they have the capability for the job, and will provide a suitable and cost-effective design. Do ask for testimonials to back this up.
- Do they have a Chartered Structural Engineer in their consultancy?
It takes many years of both intensive study and practise to obtain this qualification, and many engineers need to take more than one attempt before they pass. If there is a qualified chartered structural engineer on board, you can be more confident of the quality of the work submitted to Building Control and to the end contractor.
- Are they good communicators?
Communication is vital for the success of all projects, heading off misunderstandings and ensuring clarity. You want to know that your engineers will be proactive, responsive, and make all effort to deliver on time and to budget, keeping you in the loop all the way. Ask about their track record and read reviews, as well as asking for testimonials.
- Do they offer value, as opposed to just being cheap?
In all areas of life, you tend to get what you pay for. Without suggesting opting for the most pricey quote, going with the cheapest is often not the best idea either. The road to a successful building, delivered to a high standard, on time and to budget, is littered with projects that experienced delays, extra costs and problems on site.
Check what is included in the T+Cs and what is not, and have a discussion about the most likely number of site visits needed; the format information will be provided in, and pricing/payment across the key stages of the project. When looking at quotes, be sure to compare like with like.
- Check the level of Professional Indemnity Insurance
It is vital to check that the level of PI carried by the practice is sufficient for the job. The engineer is liable for their design long after construction has completed and the project has been handed over. If there are any unforeseen issues down the line, then addressing them will be covered.
- Is their programme safe and realistic?
A good engineer will take into consideration factors such as retaining walls for the safety of the site, and will build this into the programme.
- If you are the end client, has the chosen engineer worked with your architect and/or contractor before?
A positive prior relationship will not only be a good testimonial – it will help create a good professional collaboration for the entirety of the scheme.
And finally – a bit about us!
PRO Structures Ltd has been serving construction since 2007, and we are justifiably proud of both our track record, and of our reputation for excellent service and value.
We offer civil and structural engineering for residential, office, public sector and commercial buildings. Working in partnership with our clients, our aim is always to offer the highest professional standards combined with excellent value and a no-nonsense approach.
Our capabilities include designing to the latest codes and regulations in concrete, masonry, timber and steel, as well as offering substructure and geotechnical assistance, with a commitment to being as environmentally friendly as possible.
We believe in building long term relationships and will always go the extra mile to find the most appropriate and cost-effective structural solutions, and the design that best suits our clients’ needs. Based in Bristol, our client base stretches from Cornwall up to Coventry, as well as along the M4 corridor to London.